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Logistics UK has renewed its call for mitigations for van operators that have ordered a compliant vehicle ahead of the expansion of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The call follows new research from Auto Trader showing that van operators will struggle to buy suitably compliant vehicles in time for its introduction on 29 August 2023.

Since July last year, Logistics UK has been calling for TfL to introduce mitigations to allow those who can demonstrate that they have ordered – or plan to order – a new or replacement compliant vehicle, to remain exempt from additional charges should they not receive their vehicle delivery in time for the proposed ULEZ expansion start date.

Denise Beedell, senior policy manager at Logistics UK said new van registrations in 2022 were at their lowest level since 2013, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues and a shortage of semi-conductors, whilst at the same time the rising number of clean air zones in the UK has intensified demand for Euro-6 vehicles.

She added: “Businesses that rely on second hand vehicles, such as SMEs, have only limited options for purchasing a Euro-6 vehicle, and delays on the delivery of electric vehicles are also preventing operators from switching their fleets at this point.

“Logistics UK is today reiterating these calls to ensure operators are not disproportionately impacted by vehicle production delays once the expansion is in place.

“Van operators are at the heart of the capital’s economy, delivering all that businesses and homes require but have been impacted by significant rises to inflation and other operating costs.”

Bedell said Logistics UK members fully support the Mayor of London’s aims to improve air quality in the capital with operators of goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes meeting tougher emissions standards since the London-wide Low Emission Zone requirements were tightened in March 2021.

“However, with a lack of readily available alternatives, further daily charges will divert funds that could otherwise be invested in reducing emissions and decarbonising operations,” she warned.

For more stories tracking the industry journey to decarbonisation see our new Freight Carbon Zero website.